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The Town

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Town Movie Poster Image
Strong, suspenseful, mature drama about a life of crime.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 125 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 27 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie seems to be saying that it's possible for people to escape their upbringing, but it may require them to turn their backs on friends and loved ones -- a tough choice, and one that's especially difficult here, because the film also highlights the importance of loyalty.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It's not really clear who to root for in a movie about bank robbers. Doug MacRay is painted as the “hero,” but he kills people and steals for a living. He’s certainly got a soft side and wants to escape from the underworld, but at heart he’s still a criminal.


Several intense shoot-outs, a few beatings, and some point-blank, execution-style killings. Two characters are shot in the head, on screen, which yields plenty of spraying blood. Another is savagely pummeled with rifle butts, and one man is shot in the groin at close range.


One very quick glimpse of a stripper’s bare breast and two sex scenes that feature writhing, grinding, and passionate sounds, but no nudity.


Tons of swearing -- particularly “f--k," but also “s--t," "d--k," "c--k," "ass," "hell," and "goddamn."


Some of the characters drink from Budweiser bottles.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several scenes feature people drinking in bars or at parties, and there several references to oxycontin and heroin. One of the main characters is a teetotaler who drinks juice at the bar while his friends pound beers and is later seen going to an AA meeting. One character's promising future was scuttled by drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this gritty, tension-filled thriller directed by Ben Affleck about a crew of Boston bank robbers has plenty of excitement -- and plenty of graphic violence. The main characters are drawn into high-powered shoot-outs with the cops that leave several people dead or dying in pools of blood (two characters are shot in the head on screen). There are several bar scenes with a good bit of drinking, as well as near-constant swearing ("f--k" "s--t," and more). There are a few sex scenes, too, but, ultimately, it’s the realistic, intense violence that parents really need to watch out for.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymasterofthemovies September 24, 2010

lots of language but really good action scenes

the grit of the film helps itself, but as for kids its a no. I would say that a mature 16 year old would be ok for this but it really depends on the teen.
Adult Written by4Spice January 6, 2011

great action movie

this is a good movie lots of violence shooting lots of bad language no kids some nudity 16 and over
Teen, 15 years old Written byslasher23 February 9, 2011
Teen, 13 years old Written byCgood August 16, 2011

great film,good message,but alot of bad language

VERY good movie,good message and alright for older teens.the only problem in the movie is the bad language(245 f-words), and some of the violence is pretty inte... Continue reading

What's the story?

Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) leads a band of professional bank robbers that includes his childhood best friend, Jem (Jeremy Renner). It's all he knows after botching a future in pro hockey (thanks to drugs), and it's a life he treasures -- even though it has both nurtured and wrecked him. On one of their heists, the gang abducts a bank manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall), whom they let go once they're clear of the cops. But Jem's convinced that she'll get them in trouble, so Doug, sensing Jem's instability, decides to shadow her to see whether she'll become a liability. After getting to know her, Doug begins to entertain the possibility of starting over, perhaps with her -- a plan that Jem may not allow. Meanwhile, time is running out: An FBI agent (Jon Hamm) is nipping at their heels.

Is it any good?

With a deft hand, Affleck, who also directs, creates a fully rendered picture in THE TOWN of a man poised at a crossroads. Should he put the life he has lived thus far in, as he says, "the rear view," or commit to the path that has both nurtured and wrecked him? We sympathize with him despite the fact that he's essentially the bad guy -- even though he's not the baddest of the bunch. That "honor" falls to Jem, who frightens with his unpredictability and volatility, a cocktail that discomfits the audience thanks to Renner's enormous talent.

Most everyone, in fact, brings their A-game, from Hall to the bit players. (The gifted Hamm, however, surprisingly rates a B-plus; he's strong, but he doesn't seem as comfortable in this skin as he playing Mad Men's Don Draper.) So it's no wonder the disappointment that comes with the ending feels like a sucker punch: The last three minutes are too Hollywood, too Shawshank Redemption (without the originality), so far removed from the authentic Charlestown that Affleck has masterfully depicted during the 122 minutes that came before it. The wrap-up undercuts the fim -- though luckily, not entirely. What a statement The Town would have been had Affleck not given in to the inclination for a tidy, bow-tied ending.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about "good guys" vs. "bad guys." Do you think someone who steals for a living should be portrayed as the “hero” of a movie? Do you think the criminals in this film come across as more competent than the cops?

  • Are there any obvious role models in this movie? What message do you think it's trying to send?

  • Do you think Doug MacRay is destined to become a bank robber like his father? How hard is it for him to escape this lifestyle?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

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